Print version

Trump’s Legacy and the Liberal International Order: Why Trump Failed to Institutionalise an Anti-global Agenda


Donald Trump was expected to repeal the internationalist approach that had dominated US foreign policy since the end of the Second World War, but his impact was narrower than is commonly supposed. On the one hand, the problems of the liberal international order predate Trump and probably will outlive his presidency. He was more a symptom than the cause of those difficulties, thus his responsibilities should not be overstated. On the other hand, despite several renegotiations and accusations against its partners, the US involvement in multilateral organisations remains solid and its engagement overseas remarkable. Overall, Trump’s performance in shifting US foreign policy toward an anti-globalist stance was quite poor. Contrary to mainstream accounts of Trump’s foreign policy, the president’s revisionism has arguably been thwarted less by the internationalist approach within the foreign policy establishment than by his own personality and his policy-making attitudes.
Keywords: Donald Trump; US foreign policy; liberal international order; leadership traits; populist dilemma